Why we should be grateful for our CUSU candidates

In an era of political chaos, back stabbing, uncertainty, multimillion pound departmental scandals, it takes a look beyond the CUSU election at the national level to realise, we really don’t have it that bad.

Lucien Davies-Jones

Death was discovered in Cambridge over 100 years ago, take that Oxf*rd

You may not have noticed, but CUSU is holding an election.  The signs have, admittedly, been subtle.  It might have been the tenth Facebook invitation of the day inviting you to a presumably non-existent event to support someone you have never met and probably never will.  It might have been waking up on Friday 1st March to find that last night your arm received the Hack’s equivalent of a sleeve tattoo, in which various candidates, in a process reassuringly like cattle branding, assert their ownership over your vote, the only slight problem with this being that the single illegible word in the phrase “vote … for Women’s Officer” stamped over your elbow is the name of the actual candidate.  You might even have had the misfortune of mistaking a candidate standing on the Sidgwick site for a Big Issue vendor and accidentally taken a flyer, only to discover that they are not trying to end homelessness but are instead engaged in the clearly more vital task of shouting at the university.  

In any case, the likelihood is that you have noticed.  The likelihood is also that you have reached a saturation point when it comes to any form of politics or political accomplishments, not least because alongside the thrilling roller-coaster of marginally different CUSU candidates who probably all share the same wider political views anyway, we can all see the pink tinge in the sky at night which is the country’s political establishment in Westminister joyfully setting itself on fire. Therefore, I was slightly surprised that it was this week, of all weeks, that I noticed a plaque attached to the wall of the Corn Exchange.

It reads very simply: “This foundation stone was laid by John Death Esquire, Mayor of Cambridge, 26th of May 1875.”  Now, I’m not a superstitious man, but part of me did wonder what the hell the people of Cambridge were thinking in electing someone presumably at least relatively chummy with the Grim Reaper himself. Well, under normal circumstances and in a political climate that was less Kalahari and more the January in Abergavenny which is the student hustings, I might have thought that.  What I instead thought was how, quite honestly, voting for Death right now might not be so bad. 

Or, failing him, what about some other equally qualified, ominously named immortal being.  Given that the locust on the proverbial, but sadly still literal, Corpus Clock is not that far from midnight, Conquest, War, and Famine are probably all too busy saddling up.  However, if a Ms Mutilation, a Herr Haemorrhage, or a Dame Divine Retribution did run for office, do we really have that much to lose? Given that Cambridge is still chugging along Mr Death can’t have done all that badly, even if he has rather ironically moved on to the nursing home in the sky and would probably be better for the NHS’s drug stocks than Mr Grayling.  Surely it is at times like these that we ought to be grateful that despite the annoyances of being pestered with meaningless campaign slogans and having to discern the negligible differences between candidates who are ultimately fighting on similar platforms, CUSU still has the blessing of capable and passionate candidates.  However intrusive and CV-building student politics may seem, at least they’re not just in it for themselves. And thank the Lord that they don’t have nuclear weapons.